YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A Warren man Thursday was sentenced to more than five years in federal prison on a gun charge.

Judge Sara Lioi in the U.S. Northern District Court of Ohio handed down the sentence of 65 months to Willie Joe Dawson, 34, who pleaded guilty March 18 to a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Dawson has been in federal custody since October. The charge stems from a Sept. 17, 2021, arrest by Warren police. Reports said officers found a loaded .357-Magnum revolver in a car he was driving after they pulled him over for a traffic violation.

Dawson is not allowed to have a gun because of 2006 convictions in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court for felonious assault, aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence.

In a sentencing memorandum last week, his federal public defenders asked for leniency, saying that their client only had a gun because he had been shot before and had seen other people shot. The attorneys said Dawson only had the gun for protection and did not intend to use it for any other reason except self defense.

The memorandum also noted that Dawson has only had three misdemeanor arrests since 2008 and he has taken several classes while in detention awaiting sentencing in an effort to improve himself.